This summer Moody Publishers has released two excellent books by pastors for pastors, one by H.B. Charles and the other by Bob Russell. Each is practical, insightful, and humble. And both are books any pastor or aspiring pastor would benefit from reading.
by H.B. Charles
A ministry compass. That’s how H.B. Charles describes On Pastoring. It’s not a manual of pastoring. It’s not a theology of the role of “pastor.” It’s a profound and practical resource to help pastors determine if they are on the right and faithful course.
In concise chapters full of real-life examples of both success and failure Charles charts the course for pastors. He emphasizes the heart and conviction a pastor must have rooted in scripture and keeping the main thing the main thing. But he doesn’t stop at saying “do this;” he shows the reader how by sharing practices and habits. He emphasizes character and congregational care, which is so rare in this day of church growth and platform building.
What stands out from this book is the humble honesty of Charles as he relays his own ups and downs and missteps. He doesn’t wallow. He doesn’t hold himself up as the paragon of pastoring. He simply lays out a path and shows where good footing is and bad. He encourages his fellow pastors, or those aspiring to be pastors, and challenges them with deep but foundational truths about the call on the pastor and the joys of being in ministry too. He warns of the challenges and highlights the joys.
On Pastoring is a book that experienced pastors will find to be a good status check. Young Pastors will encounter a map and trip guide for the journey ahead. Aspiring pastors will find an eye-opening, sobering, uplifting picture of what a pastor’s life and ministry hold. It is truly a rich and helpful book.
by Bob Russell
Every pastor needs a pastor and every young pastor needs an older past who can encourage and challenge him, from whom he can learn. After forty years of faithful ministry, ministry that can be deemed successful by every meaningful measure, Bob Russell is that man.
In After Fifty Years of Ministry Russell shares seven things he wishes he would differently, lessons on handling criticism, being kind, dealing with fear and insecurity, and fighting the temptation to compare. But Russell is not a man riddled with regret. Rather he is a seasoned pastor who recognizes his weaknesses and mistakes along the way and wants to help others avoid the same.
He’s also a man who loves the gospel and ministry, so he shares seven things he would do exactly the same if given the chance – things like emphasizing expository preaching, avoiding the temptation of celebrity, enjoying laughter and fun, and trusting his team. He shares stories of his successes and failures and offers practical advice throughout.
After Fifty Years of Ministry is a book rich with wisdom and practical advice for ministers at any stage, even those on the verge of retiring. (Russell shares pointed thoughts on how to transition out of a ministry well too.) Young pastors need this book and experienced pastors will be encouraged by it. It can serve as a litmus test for the ministry of all. Bob Russell is the pastor other pastors both want and need, a godly, humble, experienced man willing to share what He has learned over the years.